Wednesday, January 7, 2015

No One is Perfect

perfect ~ having no mistakes or flaws; completely correct or accurate; being entirely without fault or defect; corresponding to an ideal standard.

Perfectionism is something I have struggled with, starting back when I was in school and continuing into my adulthood. I want things to be right. I don't want to make mistakes. I don't want others to find fault in me.

Unfortunately, perfectionism is something that has held me back from the freedom of just being ME.

All the time I spent trying to make things perfect and worrying about things that probably didn't matter in the first place has robbed me of taking delight in what I do well and how my unique qualities are what should be celebrated, not my accomplished (perceived perfect) tasks.

Letting go of perfectionist tendencies is hard. Having children of my own, I want to help them learn that being perfect and being 100% correct is not always what's important. Instead, being responsible, kind, and special are the things I wish for my own children. 

I wish the same for my students.

What would happen if growth, attempts, perseverance, and uniqueness were celebrated even more than final grades and high-stakes assessments? Would that allow us to help students achieve a more positive mindset when it comes to their work and their ability to perform tasks they haven't tried before?

Embracing the idea that you don't have to be perfect is the first step in allowing yourself to take risks and grow without regrets about the process in becoming the best you can be!

Here's one example of how I have tried to help my students learn without the worry of being 100% perfect. This fall, my class and the other fourth grade classes at our school worked on a project with the CritterKin team of Jena Ball and Marty Keltz while reading one of Jena's books, Lead with Your Heart. The students not only read the story, but participated in lessons to draw, write, and collaborate with the local Animal Rescue League while most importantly learning lessons of kindness. In our culminating activity, the students created a newspaper entitled "The Des Moines Doggy Daily." The students were so excited to see all their efforts come together and be able to present their work to their schoolmates, families, and the ARL Through these activities, my students were able to use their skills, whether it was drawing, interviewing, writing. reading, or reviewing to take part in the overall success of the project. 

The Not Perfect Hat Club is a new project of the CritterKin team. Their new book is "under construction" and will be one to celebrate how kids are perfectly "not perfect" with their own unique gifts and talents. You can read more about it hereand here.

Embracing the notion that being not perfect is actually a perfectly wonderful way to learn and live, and I wish I would have realized that earlier in life!


  1. Fear. Something that held me back for years and something we all constantly strive to overcome. Your post, and its reference to perfectionism, rings so true with me. Being from the same generation (20th year as well) it must have been something in the water that has kept us from this new generation of First Attempt in Learning as shared by Rick Wormeli. Keep up the inspiring writing! Great stuff!

    1. It definitely could be a generational thing! Even better reason to try to break that cycle for today's kids. I do believe fear has a lot to do with it -- fear of making mistakes, fear of the reaction of others, and fear of not doing enough all the time.